Mississippi State (7-13, 2-7) had a few fighting moments against Ole Miss (18-4, 7-2) but they ultimately lost their seventh-consecutive basketball contest.
For an obviously shorthanded MSU, guard Craig Sword led the way with 17 points in 27 minutes of play. Jalen Steele had 15 and Fred Thomas had 13. State shot 43.1% from the field, 21.7% beyond the arc, and an improved 70% from the charity stripe. Unfortunatley, things do not get easier for Coach Ray's squad. They travel to Gainsville Saturday to battle No. 2 Florida for the second time in two weeks. The Gators nearly doubled up MSU in Starkville January 26 in an 82-47 loss.
Four Rebels finished with double-figures: Marshall Henderson (31), Murphy Holloway (24), Reginald Buckner (12), and Jarvis Summers (11). Ole Miss shot 16 more free throws but was out rebounded by State by five. The Rebels travel to No. 21 Missouri Saturday, and play the next three of four SEC games on the road.
An underlining stat that should be noted is total team fouls. Ole Miss committed only 17, while the Bulldogs produced 27. Nonetheless, the Bulldog defense pulled within ten points with five minutes left but Henderson's barrage of long-distance bombs couldn't get MSU any closer in the second half.
Rick Ray has a lot work, yes. But the Bulldogs are not rolling over or playing dead. Fight and hustle exists in Starkville.